Revere High girls basketball team falls to Andover in MIAA Tourney
By Cary Shuman
The Revere High girls basketball team had the higher seed and the homecourt advantage after an excellent 16-4 season, but the MIAA parings resulted in one of the toughest opening-round opponents in the bracket.
The No. 10 seed Andover, out of the Merrimack Valley Conference, pulled off the upset, defeating No. 5 seed Revere, 58-43, in a Division 1 North sectional first round game on Feb. 28 at the Roland Merullo Fieldhouse.
Andover took control of the game in the second quarter and pulled away to a 31-16 lead at the break.
Junior guard Emily DiGiulio, who was outstanding for the Patriots, ignited the Revere crowd when she scored the first five points of the second half on a three-point play followed by a steal and layup. DiGiulio finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
Senior co-captain Tatianna Iacoviello and sophomore guard Erika Cheever (10 points) hit successive three-pointers to further close the deficit to 33-27. Senior co-captain Valentina Pepic (14 points, 10 rebounds) continued the spirited comeback with a basket before DiGiulio connected on her third hoop of the quarter.
However, the Lady Golden Warriors scored the final four points of the third period and then extended their lead to 50-31 with five minutes remaining in the game on their way to the victory.
A key to the Golden Warriors’ success was their double-and-triple teaming defensive effort on Revere’s 6-foot-2-inch center, Valentina Pepic.
“They were triple-teaming her, and that’s what you have to do against a player the caliber of Val,” said Revere coach Lianne O’Hara. “They did their homework.”
Andover coach Alan Hibino said the Warriors focused on Pepic and Iacoviello in their game plan.
“Valentina was the No. 1 priority and 1A was Tatianna,” said Hibino. “Whenever you have senior leaders, you pay a little attention to that, especially with the success they’ve had over their four years. Revere is a talented tam and Coach O’Hara had her team well prepared.”
Hibino felt Andover’s tough schedule was good preparation for the MIAA Tournament.
“To be quote honest, I feel our conference schedule – when you play Central Catholic and Lowell twice – those games prepare you well for the postseason,” said Hibino.
O’Hara said the first-half deficit was a big hurdle to overcome against Andover.
“It’s hard to chip away at that margin,” said O’Hara. “I think their defense was a lot more aggressive than what we’re used to.”
O’Hara said she will miss the seniors, especially the leadership provided by co-captains Pepic and Iacoviello.
“It hurts to lose those girls because I love those girls,” said O’Hara. “I’ve been able to work with them the past two years and I’ve gotten to know them as people and leaders and I’ve invested so much in the two of them.”
Pepic, who is a candidate for Northeastern Conference MVP, said she enjoyed her basketball career in Revere. She is heading to Division 1 Niagara University.
“I’m really proud of my team,” said Pepic. “We had a young team and I’m proud of them for stepping up. The freshmen, Caroline [Stasio] and Ayah [Harper], never gave up on each other and they pushed each other and I’m proud of them. I want to thank the city who really supported us.”
RhS sports Roundup
RHS hockey team falls in tourney, 4-2
The Revere High hockey team put up a good battle in its opening round contest with Swampscott in the Division 3 North Sectional of the MIAA state hockey tournament, but fell short by a score of 4-2 last Thursday evening at the O’Brien Rink in Woburn.
The teams, who are rivals in the South Division of the Northeastern Conference, had met twice during the regular season, with Swampscott capturing the first encounter, 3-1, and the teams then deadlocking 2-2 two weeks ago. Swampscott entered the tourney as the eighth seed in the D-3 North with a 9-5-6 record and Revere, the ninth seed, brought a 9-7-4 mark into the sectional.
The Patriots came out on fire to start the game, controlling the play at both ends and outshooting their Big Blue foes, 7-2. However, Revere proved unable to finish its opportunities.
On the other hand, after withstanding the initial Patriot onslaught, Swampcott managed to light the lamp before the period ended for a 1-0 lead. The Big Blue made it 2-0 early in the second period, but RHS junior Wayne Cintolo answered with a goal to leave matters at 2-1.
However, the Patriots were unable to sustain their momentum, allowing Swampscott to score two more goals before the second horn for a 4-1 advantage entering the final 15 minutes.
Revere threatened to get back into the game when Mike Goroshko reached the back of the Swampscott net to slice the margin to 4-2, but that would prove to be as close as the Patriots would get.
For Goroshko, the Revere captain, the lamplighter proved to be bittersweet. It was the 99th point of his stellar career with the RHS hockey program, but that too, would prove to be as close as he would come both to bringing his team back to a victory and to reaching the magical 100-point plateau.
“We came out strong, but had nothing to show for it, whereas they skated off with a 1-0 lead after the first period,” said RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello. “When they scored their second goal and we responded, I thought we had turned the tide in our favor. But then they scored their third goal and it took us out of our game.
“However, I was encouraged by our determination in the final period,” added the coach. “We didn’t quit and gave it our best shot. We put a lot of pressure on them in the last part of the period, but we couldn’t get that third goal that might have made things interesting.
“Although we lost the tourney game, it does not take away from what was an overall successful season,” noted Ciccarello. “We had set a goal this season of qualifying for the tourney and we achieved it, which is something the entire team can be proud of.”
The Patriots will put the finishing touch on the 2018 season with their break-up banquet, which is scheduled for March 13 at 6 p.m. at the Casa Lucia.